A federal judge today has blocked Alabama’s near-total abortion ban from going into effect Nov. 15.
District Judge Myron Thompson issued a ruling blocking the Human Life Protection Act from taking effect while a challenge to the law makes its way through court.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama and Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates sued the state declaring the law, which bans nearly all abortions included in the cases of rape and incest, is unconstitutional.
“The court is persuaded that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in showing that the Act violates an individual’s constitutional right to obtain a pre-viability abortion, and thus that it violates her constitutional rights,” Thompson said in his order for a preliminary injunction.
Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said:
“As expected, the court has blocked the law and it will not go into effect. Abortion remains legal in Alabama. The state’s repeated attempts to push abortion out of reach by enacting unconstitutional laws restricting abortions has already cost taxpayers nearly $2.5 million. This ill-advised law will cost taxpayers more money.”
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a statement regarding the judge’s ruling.
“The district court’s decision to grant the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction of Alabama’s 2019 abortion law as to pre-viability abortions was not unexpected,” Marshall said. “As we have stated before, the State’s objective is to advance our case to the U.S. Supreme Court where we intend to submit evidence that supports our argument that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided and that the Constitution does not prohibit states from protecting unborn children from abortion.”
Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, who championed the abortion ban in the Alabama legislature, also responded.
“Today’s ruling is both expected and welcomed. Our law was designed to overturn Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court level, and today’s ruling is merely the first of many steps on that legal journey. I remain confident that our mission will be successful and appreciate the support of millions of citizens who support our effort to preserve unborn life,” Collins said.
State Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville), the Senate sponsor of the bill, called the judge’s preliminary injunction “judicial activism, pure and simple.”
“In 2018, the people of Alabama overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to declare Alabama a pro-life state, and the Human Life Protection Act was passed by supermajorities in both chambers of the Alabama Legislature,” Chambliss said. “Roe v. Wade was a terrible decision, built on faulty legal reasoning, that has resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent babies. The State of Alabama through the Attorney General’s Office will mount a vigorous defense of Alabama’s law in court — may this be the first step to restoring the rule of the U.S. Constitution and a culture of life on this matter.”
Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, one of the plaintiff’s in the case, said:
“This is not only a victory for the people of Alabama — it’s a victory for the entire nation. We said it from the start: this ban is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight it every step of the way. We will continue fighting this law in court until it is permanently blocked and we will work every day to make sure that abortion remains safe, legal, and available in Alabama.”
Dr. Yashica Robinson, comprehensive women’s health specialist and plaintiff in the case said:
“This win is critical to our patients and to health care providers like myself. The abortion care we provide is essential health care, and these ruthless attacks from anti-abortion politicians have no place in Alabama. We will keep fighting to ensure that we can provide care that our patients need and to keep abortion accessible in our communities.”
In May, Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the Human Life Protection Act, banning nearly all abortion except for those performed to prevent serious health risk of the mother. The law would make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion. The ACLU of Alabama and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit and request for preliminary injunction to prevent the law from going into effect Nov. 15.
State Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a response to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood on Aug. 5, declaring his intentions to challenge the Supreme Court’s ruling of Roe V. Wade.
An attorney representing Alabama’s three abortion clinics said Marshall’s arguments have already been addressed by the Supreme Court’s consistent defense of allowing people to make personal decisions, including the right to have an abortion.
“Alabamians must not be forced to relitigate their settled constitutional rights every time the State of Alabama knowingly and deliberately enacts an unconstitutional abortion law,” Alexa Kolbi-Molina, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation lawyer stated in a court document filed in August.
Alabama is one of at least six other states attempting to challenge the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe V. Wade, including Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, North Dakota, Kentucky and Mississippi.
There are three clinics in that provide abortions in Alabama, Reproductive Health Services in Montgomery, Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville and West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa.